Eat Food, Just Enough, Mainly Plants, by Fiona Wray

Eat Food, Just Enough, Mainly PlantsI’m going to buck the trend here and not offer up a new healthy eating plan for 2016. I could add to the plethora of information already out there and consequently add to the confusion, as every newspaper, magazine, TV show and celebrity seems to have an opinion - all different to the others. It’s hard not to be swept along with the tidal wave of enthusiasm and there’s nothing wrong with New Year’s resolve, but much of this energy will be lost before we hit March, leaving many people feeling confused, disappointed and inadequate.

During my 13 years in homeopathic practice I have worked with clients suffering from kidney stones from drinking too much diet soda, thyroid damage from juicing huge amounts of kale, weight gain on low-fat diets, eczema that flares up with the consumption of dairy foods and panic attacks when eating nothing but protein. I could go on. I’ve also joined patients on anti-candida, raw food, gluten-free and fruitarian diets, all in the name of research. They’ve always been interesting and informative and each one has a basis in science but that doesn’t mean that they are beneficial in the long term. With about 80% of the body’s immune system residing in the gut, diet is something as a health practitioner that I need to take an interest in.

January however makes me feel uneasy and more so in recent years as shopping habits and the way we access and distribute information has changed beyond recognition. I see what’s coming for the year and worry about the impact on my patients with so much pressure and advice bombarding them from all angles. I have been known to hanker after a bygone simpler age but reality kicks in and I know that there is no going back - I have to do the research and be prepared to explain why it might not be good for everyone to be a vegan or vegetarian, to eat lots of fat or no fat, or to fast for 2 days a week. We’re all different which is why I love homeopathy; it’s about the individual.

In 1990 my father died of stomach cancer, he was just 61 years old. About 6 months later I was still feeling low, I’d gone through the immediate grief but I wasn’t bouncing back. I decided I needed to reach out for some help but in what way I wasn’t exactly sure. I didn’t know if I was depressed or just sad, my energy levels were lower than what I considered normal but other than that I seemed to be healthy enough. I walked into a bookshop one day with an open mind to see if anything there might grab my attention and for some inexplicable reason I walked out with a book on food combining. Within 2 weeks I was back to my normal self, still sad of course but in a way that helped me to move forward positively. 

You see diet doesn’t just affect our weight; it affects our mental health as well. Part of food combining is about keeping the consumption of carbohydrates and protein separate but it’s much more than that. It advocates a diet high in alkaline foods such as fruit and vegetables, herbs, natural fibre, good fats, small amounts of protein and wholegrains, and low sugar. My diet had been good before and balanced by normal standards but aiming for the programme’s recommended amount of 80% alkaline food daily did concentrate my mind. I haven’t always reached that goal but I know that consistently consuming fresh produce over the years has been of great benefit to my health. 
Winter Veggies
Winter veggies
Fiona Wray

While so many other diets have fallen in and out of fashion, this one has stayed the course. Whether food combining appeals to you or not, everyone can learn from its ethos. It’s not faddy and includes each of the major food groups. I have adhered to it to a greater or lesser extent since that time and it works well for me. I don’t always properly food combine but I am always mindful to keep my fresh food intake high and my processed food consumption as low as possible. As a friend of mine says ‘avoid New Year fads - eat food, just enough, mainly plants’ – it’s as simple as that.

Fiona Wray MHMA, BTAA is a homeopath, Bowen Therapist and holistic health practitioner with a special interest in skin complaints. She has produced organic skincare for her patients and clients for the past 10 years and is co-owner of Rather Lovely a new brand of organic skincare and natural home fragrance products. Despite now being on the plus side of 50, in her spare time she can be found on the tennis courts or golf course, walking her dog Gandalph, tending fruit and vegetables in her kitchen garden or devising new recipes for super-tasty, good-for-you cakes. She firmly believes that staying healthy is for life, not just for January!

Be sure to check out my review of the Rather Lovely organic skincare range

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